.

City Council Rejects Centrum Sunset Project

Council denies the controversial development, citing traffic concerns and impact on surrounding neighborhood.

West Hollywood City Council denied construction Monday night of a controversial development set for the Sunset Strip.

Citing concerns about traffic and impacts upon the surrounding neighborhood, the council voted 4-1 to deny the Centrum Sunset project after a nearly three-hour public hearing. Mayor John Duran cast the only vote for the venture.

Set to go into the old Tower Records location at 8801 Sunset Blvd., the Centrum Sunset project proposed to build a three-story, 47,000-square-foot building, with an upscale David Barton gym and spa as the development's main tenant.

This was Centrum Sunset’s second appearance before the council. In September, the council , citing concerns about parking, video signage and traffic impacts.

The revised project was scheduled to go before council on March 5. However, the day before that meeting, developer Sol Barket sent an saying he did not think he had the votes to win.

That withdrawal turned out to be only temporary as the project was back on Monday night. While the revised project addressed the council’s concerns about parking and offered reduced video signage, the traffic concerns could not be overcome.

The project was projected to add more than 1,200 car trips a day to the chronically congested Sunset-Horn-Holloway intersection. City staff testified that the intersection already has an “F” rating and that during peak evening hours, 56 more cars per hour, approximately one per minute, would be turning onto Horn Avenue to enter the facility.

“This is a tough, tough intersection,” said Councilwoman Abbe Land. “I don’t think this project is the one to have at this intersection.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Prang noted that a project of this density and size would be fine for any other location in town, but was too problematic for this intersection.

The council was dazzled by the prospect of having a David Barton high-end gym in town. Land said, “David Barton is a brand that belongs in West Hollywood."

Prang concurred, calling Barton “a wonderful brand of gym we’d be proud to have in West Hollywood.”

But the council also expressed concern for the future, noting that Barton and other tenants could come and go, but the city would still be left with a huge building.

“We need to make sure that whatever is approved is beneficial in the long run,” said Councilman John Heilman.

Councilman John D’Amico called the project an “amazing next step for West Hollywood,” complimenting both the building’s design and the way council concerns were addressed in the revised plans.

However, concerns about traffic and quality of life for the area residents outweighed his admiration for the project.

“I'm trying desperately to find a way to vote for this project, but the impacts on residential streets are too much,” said D’Amico. “It has been clearly stated that they cannot be mitigated.”

More than 60 people spoke during public comment, which lasted for 90 minutes. Those speakers were fairly evenly divided for and against the project.

After the council vote, Centrum Sunset developer Sol Barket told Weho Patch he was disappointed.

“We’re going to move forward with a long-term lease for the property as it stands today,” Barket said.   

Stay up to date on West Hollywood news and events, by following @WehoPatch and “like” on Facebook.

Elyse Eisenberg April 03, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Five years of opposition and tremendous neighborhood support, we can finally see this chapter closed. We had a great team effort - from a very united neighborhood which we thank profusely, and our IAC and Regency partners without whom we couldn't have accomplished this result. Thank you all for your hard work and patience with this cumbersome process. We also would like to thank the City Councilmembers for their thoughtful comments and, of course, their common sense votes.
me April 03, 2012 at 07:34 PM
"developer Sol Barket sent an email to city officials appearing to withdraw the project completely, saying he did not think he had the votes to win." BIGGER GIFTS & PERSONAL FAVORS TO THE COUNCIL MEMBERS NEXT TIME MR. BARKET, THAT'S HOW YOU GET SOMETHING DONE IN THIS CITY....BETTER LUCK ON YOUR NEXT DEVELOPMENT! FONDLY, ME
Jerome Cleary April 03, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Thanks to everyone who participated with their pros and cons on this project. It's a very difficult, complicated and problematic intersection and it's only gotten worse with gridlock over the past decade.
Manny April 03, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The City Council (4 out of 5) were correct to reject this project. It's wonderful to witness these great moments when our Council shows their love for this City and it's future. On the orher hand, those rude and disrespectful David Barton gym rats were painful to hear last night. Hooray for Equinox and 24 Hour Fitness!
GoodGriefCharlieBrown April 03, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I'm surprised that no one called out John Duran for voting for the project. Very surprised...
GoodGriefCharlieBrown April 03, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Has anyone called out John Duran for being the ONLY ONE voting in favor of this project?
Jerome Cleary April 03, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Our neighborhood was fortunate with the organization and incredible help from Elyse Eisenberg in making a difference in helping us all along the way. Thanks again Elyse!
Chloe Ross April 05, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Wow - John Duran had the right to vote anyway he wished. That's why we are able to vote.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something